Accountability is important because sin is serious. Your sin and my sin was dirty, heinous, and filthy enough in the site of Almighty God that it was due justice for Jesus Christ to bleed and die on a cross to pay the penalty that your sin and my sin warranted. Randy Alcorn posted a blog citing a list of the consequences that falling into sexual immorality would have on his life and ministry. These are some consequences that Randy foresees that could become realities in his life if he was to fall into sexual sin. As you read through this list let it remind you of the seriousness of sin:
Personalized List of Anticipated Consequences of Immorality
- Grieving my Lord; displeasing the One whose opinion most matters.
- Dragging into the mud Christ’s sacred reputation.
- Loss of reward and commendation from God.
- Having to one day look Jesus in the face at the judgment seat and give an account of why I did it.
- Forcing God to discipline me in various ways.
- Following in the footsteps of men I know of whose immorality forfeited their ministry and caused me to shudder. List of these names:
- Suffering of innocent people around me who would get hit by my shrapnel (a la Achan).
- Untold hurt to Nanci, my best friend and loyal wife.
- Loss of Nanci’s respect and trust.
- Hurt to and loss of credibility with my beloved daughters, Karina and Angela. (“Why listen to a man who betrayed Mom and us?”)
- If my blindness should continue or my family be unable to forgive, I could lose my wife and my children forever.
- Shame to my family. (“Why isn’t Daddy a pastor anymore?”; the cruel comments of others who would invariably find out.)
- Shame to my church family.
- Shame and hurt to my fellow pastors and elders. List of names:
- Shame and hurt to my friends, and especially those I’ve led to Christ and discipled. List of names:
- Guilt awfully hard to shake—even though God would forgive me, would I forgive myself?
- Plaguing memories and flashbacks that could taint future intimacy with my wife.
- Disqualifying myself after having preached to others.
- Surrender of the things I am called to and love to do—teach and preach and write and minister to others. Forfeiting forever certain opportunities to serve God. Years of training and experience in ministry wasted for a long period of time, maybe permanently.
- Being haunted by my sin as I look in the eyes of others, and having it all dredged up again wherever I go and whatever I do.
- Undermining the hard work and prayers of others by saying to our community “this is a hypocrite—who can take seriously anything he and his church have said and done?”
- Laughter, rejoicing and blasphemous smugness by those who disrespect God and the church (2 Samuel 12:14).
- Bringing great pleasure to Satan, the Enemy of God.
- Heaping judgment and endless problems on the person I would have committed adultery with.
- Possible diseases: gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, and AIDS (pain, constant reminder to me and my wife, possible infection of Nanci, or in the case of AIDS, even causing her death, as well as mine.)
- Possible pregnancy, with its personal and financial implications, including a lifelong reminder of sin to me and my family.
- Loss of self-respect, discrediting my own name, and invoking shame and lifelong embarrassment upon myself.
Sin is not something that we as Christians should be comfortable playing around with. Sin should be prayed about, confronted, and repented of. This is something that can be done in part through an accountability relationship.
Through accountability, we are willing to become real with someone about the struggles and sins in our lives. An accountability relationship allows us to pray for each other specifically about areas of struggle and also to be able to ask the hard questions about our resistance of sin or falling into sin. This also makes another small consequence come into the equation – if we have sinned and fallen, we know that we will be asked specifically about it and have to come clean.
Accountability allows fighting sin to no longer be a solo endeavor. Through accountability, a Christian now has someone to celebrate victories with and to pray for and encourage in times of defeat. Your sin is still your struggle, but you have someone who you know is on their knees praying for your victory. Do you have this kind of accountability in your life?